Vanilla salt consists of any type of course or ground salt combined with vanilla bean seeds to enhance the salt with the flavor and aroma of vanilla. This type of salt is available from a number of manufacturers, using a variety of different salts, though it can also be made quite easily. While fine salt or table salt could be used to make this product, larger salt such as kosher or sea salt often work better and provide greater flavor and texture. Vanilla salt can be used in baking sweet dishes such as cookies and cakes, though it can be used in savory dishes as well.
While the idea of vanilla salt may initially seem unusual, as salt is often associated with savory dishes, it can add a great deal of flavor to many different types of foods. Salt, itself, is a flavor enhancer and can be used in everything from cookies and caramels to fried fish and steamed vegetables. The use of vanilla salt merely adds the aroma and flavor of vanilla to the enhanced flavors of the dish. If someone uses too much salt, of any kind, then the flavors can become overpowering, however, so restraint should be used.
Vanilla salt can be purchased from a number of different manufacturers, which utilize different types of salt and add vanilla seeds or flavoring. Such salts can make excellent gifts, though they can also be made quite easily. To make vanilla salt, someone simply takes salt from a package and pours it into a bowl. A vanilla bean is split along the length of the bean, and then the seeds within the bean are scraped out. These seeds contain the strong aroma and flavor associated with vanilla.
The seeds from the bean pod are added to the salt in the bowl and stirred together thoroughly. This vanilla salt can then be stored in an airtight container and used as needed. Salt with fairly large crystals is typically best for this, so kosher, sea salt, or even ground Himalayan rock salt would all work quite well.
Vanilla salt can be used in numerous dishes, both sweet and savory. When added to baked goods that commonly call for salt, such as sweet bread, cookies, cakes, and even some pie crusts and fillings, it adds extra vanilla flavor. This salt can also be used with savory dishes to add an unexpected accent flavor, providing surprising depth to foods such as French fries, cooked vegetables, and corn on the cob.